From a distance, the yellowed, typewriter written, tattered papers appear to be nothing impressive . But the information contained on those papers is what makes them amongst my most cherished possessions. It is the only window I have into an unknown part of my life. The only knowledge about my biological past. My adoption papers.
The sketchy information does not even come close to telling the entire picture about the beginning of my life, but it’s enough for me to read between the lines to create a story in my mind. Enough to take the blank slate and provide some understanding of the circumstances surrounding my birth and what makes me the person I am.
The first page of the paperwork contains details about my biological parents. The brief description – only a few lines total – is the most valuable information to me. I can peruse the traits and see glimpses of myself in the presentment, especially in the features and personality of my biological father. “Green eyes, dark brown naturally curly hair, dark complexion” could readily describe me. I like to think I also am somewhat “outgoing, happy-go-lucky and have a good sense of humor” which is how my biological father’s personality is portrayed.
My biological mother is also described as having brown hair but with brown eyes, and no curls. From reading her description, however, I know where I got my left-handedness. Drawing is listed as an interest. Perhaps that is where my son, Jake, got his love of art. Her personality is depicted as “moody, quiet and lazy.” I choose to envision that she was understandably moody because of the turmoil she was feeling over giving me up for adoption. She was uncharacteristically quiet. Pensive, wistfully wondering what “could have been” under different circumstances. She was not lazy, just weary. Fatigued and distressed about the toll pregnancy was taking on her body – and soul – for a baby she was not going to raise.
“Completed high school” is listed as the education for both, with the addition of “anticipates furthering her education” for my biological mother. From this, I deduced that the pregnancy occurred during their senior year of high school and I was born the October after they graduated. In another area of the paperwork, it states that pre-natal care began in mid-June. I concluded that the pregnancy was concealed from her classmates, and most likely her parents, until after graduation to reduce the embarrassment of her predicament. I wonder if either did go on to attend college after the adoption.
Some of the other tidbits of information tend to cause more questions than answers. The papers state that I wasn’t given baby formula for the first time until three days after birth. What happened during those first days of my life? Was I still with my biological mother during that time? What other explanation could there be for the delay in receiving formula? My adoption wasn’t finalized until the end of January, more than three months after I was born. I believe I was in a foster home during this time. Was I living at a private residence or a group home? Who were the kind people who took care of me? What were they like?
Most of the remaining information is mundane medical records and daily routines. But to me it is precious. I don’t have anyone with whom to discuss those first three months. No one to tell me how often I ate, how I reacted to bath time, that I made a “coo” sound when I laughed. These type-written words are all I have.
Will I meet my biological mother and father one day? Perhaps. There are so many questions that these papers can never answer. Maybe one day I will try to fill in the gaps left by the words that are not written. But for now, when I feel overwhelmed by all the unknown, I will pull out the worn, aged papers and look for a clue I may have previously missed. A clue to my biological past. A clue to my adoption story.
You may have noticed I only reference the parents who created me as my biological mother and father. Not Mother and Father. Not Mom and Dad. I will always be grateful to the people described on those pages for making the difficult decision to give me to someone who could provide a better life for me. But my adoptive parents were, and always will be my Mom and Dad.
I’m so excited that this post was featured on the Freshly Pressed page. Thanks WordPress for the recognition! http://wordpress.com/#!/fresh/